Marketing in general is a vast and complex beast which requires knowledge and effort to truly master and leverage it to its full potential to grow your brand, let alone your business. Any good internet marketing strategy can effectively help you build your business online. However, as many internet entrepreneurs look to expand their online presence and grow their businesses further, I find that many of them fail to create a complete marketing and business development strategy, focusing the majority of their efforts online. Sadly, this is a HUGE mistake on their part.
Over the course of my career as an entrepreneur, business owner and web designer, I've conducted business with many individuals and businesses all wanting to increase their reach, develop a stronger brand awareness and build a strong internet presence. Yet through all their questions, two common fears continually rang through during my discussions with many of them. They either feared the idea of taking on a major internet campaign or they felt that internet marketing would replace their tried and true traditional marketing methods. Both these fears have their roots in the fact that the vast majority of them simply lacked the proper knowledge necessary to see that both an internet marketing and traditional marketing strategy should compliment each other providing reciprocal support of their various strengths. I like to refer to this more complete picture of a marketing strategy as "blended marketing".
Why Do I Need to Do Marketing
If you plan to generate any kind of income online you need to gain an understanding that your blog or website is simply and extension of your true business. You must develop your business model first before you can properly identify how to apply your blog / website as a useful tool in your overall marketing and business development strategy. Any successful business has a marketing strategy to grow their business. You can not simply set up a blog or website and expect the business to come rushing in. You must have a strategy in place to help bring in the interested buyers you desire.
Gain a Little Perspective
As a successful internet entrepreneur and internet marketing expert myself, I've been using a blended marketing strategy for well over a decade to maximize my reach, increase my exposure and better market to my target audience to grow my online business. I'd like to share with you how a blended marketing strategy can benefit you and provide you with some techniques I use when constructing your blended marketing plan.
To help you gain a better perspective on the concept of blended marketing I suggest you have a quick read of Rena Bernstein's post over at Social Media Today entitled "Integrating Social Media with Traditional Advertising to Gain Higher Returns". It is a great read and provides valuable insight into the benefits as well as examples on how effective it can be if done correctly.
What is Blended Marketing
Blended marketing is essentially a mix of both internet marketing and traditional offline marketing methods to create a more complete, overall marketing and business development strategy. Many businesses fail to integrate both internet marketing and traditional marketing strategies together. By taking advantage of the strengths of both an internet marketing and traditional marketing strategy, you will better position yourself and / or your business for greater success.
The idea of a blended marketing strategy is to create a complete marketing strategy which takes advantage of the various strengths of both an internet marketing strategy and a traditional marketing strategy where you work to increase your search engine rankings and internet exposure, while at the same time increasing your reach and exposure offline as well.
Different aspects of a blended marketing strategy can be for example, utilizing an email marketing campaign in conjunction with a direct mail campaign to provide a specific promotion to a select group of recipients. Some email marketing systems provide a service where they will also send a direct mail piece to your email list provided you have addresses for each recipient in your list. This is just a high level example of how a blended marketing strategy can work to ensure broader reach from multiple fronts.
Benefits of a Blended Marketing
The benefits of a blended marketing strategy are vast allowing you truly grow your business at a much more rapid pace than if you did not have one. A blended marketing strategy allows you to:
- Gain Greater Exposure
- Market to the Same Audience Through Multiple Online and Offline Marketing Efforts
- Track the Effectiveness of Various Campaign Efforts
- Identify the Strengths of both Online and Offline Marketing Strategies
- Create Multiple Promotions for Various Marketing Strategies
- Generate Multiple Sources to Feed Your Sales Funnel
- Create Brand Awareness Online and Offline
- Market Products / Services Both Online and Offline
- Present Yourself as a Strong, Stable Business
- Increase Sales
These are just a few of the many benefits in which a blended marketing strategy can provide.
Creating a Blended Marketing Strategy
Creating a blended marketing strategy is not all that difficult if you know your target audience and have identified how to reach them. From that point, you can craft a marketing strategy that will allow you to reach your target audience through multiple fronts to ensure your message is heard.
The first step is to conduct market research (yes you have to do this and you can not skip this step). When conducting market research you need to identify:
- Who Your Target Audience Is
- Where They Hang Out
- How to Reach Them
- What are Their Needs
- How You Can Fill Their Need
- Will They Buy
Identifying a market for whatever you are offering is essential to the success of any business whether online or off.
The second step is to begin crafting your blended marketing strategy to incorporate the various resources available to reach your market. This is where the fun begins! Be creative with this and make sure you explore all possible options to get your message out to market. For example, you may want to include the various resources to syndicate your content not just for online purposes but also for offline purposes, such as industry magazines and journals. If you are creating an email marketing campaign, how will you mirror this effort offline through direct mail pieces? If you are going to utilize the Third Tribe concept for your online marketing, what real-world business networking and industry convention events are you going to attend to create brand awareness? Consider how you are going to integrate social media into your blended marketing and how can you drive people to follow you from your offline efforts?
The best way to create a blended marketing strategy is to mirror your online marketing efforts with potential real-world offline efforts that my accomplish the same if not similar task as your online efforts. Simply ask yourself: "Self, what offline marketing effort would be similar to this online marketing effort" then make a list of all related marketing strategies and decide which to integrate into your complete blended marketing strategy. Dedicate a lot of quality time to this process, because the more time you spend on market research and development to create your blended marketing strategy, the more effective your blended marketing strategy will be.
I hope you found this information useful and will apply what you've learned to create your own blended marketing strategy for whatever your business maybe.
To Your Success!